The Arrival of Belief at the Extremities of the Silk Roads: Recent work on the archaeology of the interface between incoming and local religions in Eurasia 400 – 1000 AD

Event - Sainsbury Institute

Thursday 22 November, 2018
2:00pm GMT

Birkbeck Room, The Great Hospital, Bishopgate, Norwich, NR1 4EL

Organised by

Professor Simon Kaner (Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures)

About the Conference

This conference will bring together specialists in archaeology, art and history of early Buddhism and Christianity to explore the adoption of these religions in a comparative context in Japan, Korea and around the North Sea (in particular Britain and Scandinavia).Inspired by discoveries of silk and other exotic items in Anglo-Saxon and Viking graves, objects such as the 5th century bronze Buddha figure discovered at the Viking settlement of Helgo in Sweden, evidence for Nestorian Christianity in China during the Tang dynasty, and the recent discovery of Roman coins from Medieval deposits in Okinawa, and the recent inscription of Okinoshima, known as the ‘Shōsoin of the Sea’ as UNESCO World Heritage, this conference will explore the impact the adoption of new religions had on areas on the fringes of the Silk Roads in the second part of the first millennium AD.Presentations will include:

• Recent discoveries in Asuka and Fujiwara, Japan
• Recent discoveries in Anglo-Saxon East Anglia
• Recent discoveries in Viking archaeology
• Research on Okinoshima – the Shōsoin of the Sea
• Findings in Silk Roads archaeology

The conference is part of the lead-up to an exhibition being developed as part of the UK- Japan Season of Culture at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, at the University of East Anglia. The exhibition will be held in summer 2020. The working title for the project is ‘The Arrival of Belief at the extremities of the Silk Roads: comparing the impact of Buddhism and Christianity on the art and culture of Japan and Britain, 400 – 1000 AD’.

The conference is open to the public and is free to attend.
Image: Bronze head of Bodhisattva, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts. UEA1193

Organised by the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures.
Sponsored by Toshiba International Foundation


In association with the Norfolk and Norwich Archaeology Society and:


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